CALVIN Abueva doesn’t think being stretched to the limit in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals put Alaska at a disadvantage against the well-rested Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the coming best-of-seven finals.
The undersized forward said not having the benefit of a break going to Friday’s Game One, could even work to their advantage.
“Yun nga ang maganda yung bugbog ka, para mas (ma-maintain) mo yung consistency sa sarili mo at sa team,” said the leading candidate for the Best Player of the Conference award after Alaska edged out Meralco, 76-70, in their sudden-death duel on Wednesday night.
Abueva topscored for the Aces with 19 points, eight rebounds, and three assists in the Game Five win, which enabled the Uytengsu franchise to reach the finals for the third successive conference - and for the fourth time over the league's last five conferences.
That gave the team barely 48 hours to prepare for the Elasto Painters, who clinched the first finals seat as early as Sunday following their 3-1 series win over the San Miguel Beermen.
But Abueva said there’s no problem with that.
Abueva said going the distance gave import Rob Dozier an even longer time to get familiar with Alaska’s plays. The former Best Import didn’t get to suit up for the team until late in the eliminations after suffering a plantar fasciitis injury just before the start of the tournament.
“Kakadating lang ni Rob sa amin. Mas nakabuti pa yung umabot ng Game 5 kasi nakapag-adjust pa siya ng husto,” said the former San Sebastian stalwart, who was named Best Player by the TV panel for the eight time in the midseason conference.
And neither does he worry about not having key players such as Vic Manuel and JV Casio, who are both out with injuries.
“Hindi namin pino-problema yung mga (wala) na gumagawa sa amin kasi team kaming naglalaro,” he said.
Abueva only has one wish by the time the finals of the mid-season conference is over.
“Sana nga makuha na,” he said, obviously referring to the Aces’ failure to win a title in their three trips to the finals earlier opposite San Miguel, including the recent Philippine Cup.